Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence

by Peter Mayle, 1993

Delightful book! Recommended on my Christie book-a-day calendar. Takes you from dreary England and back-biting advertising world to sunny France. The main character, Simon Shaw, is a wealthy advertising executive who is hassled by an ex-wife who just wants more and more of his money. He takes a much-needed vacation to Provence and finds beautiful Nicole. He and his butler, Ernest, end up in a tiny town in Provence. With Nicole, they restore an ancient prison (I think) into a charming boutique hotel with a gourmet restaurant. There are also 8 Frenchmen, former criminals, who decide to do one last job that will make them rich. There get-away vehicles are bicycles because that’s what everyone does in Provence. There plan works, except for one glitch, an extra rider named Boone decides to join them, and here the two stories meet. What a delightful book! I just loved it.

Here’s what the Book-A-Day Calendar said about it:

A Sunny and Restorative Novel

In Hotel Pastis, Peter Mayle returns to the charmed setting of his bestselling memoir, A Year in Provence, to concoct a perfectly diverting novel. Simon Shaw, a 42-year-old advertising tycoon, heads for the south of France in search of every dreamer’s vision of, well, the South of France: sun, romance, food and wine, pleasure. Which is just what he finds (with all sorts of twists to keep the reader turning pages). Not the least of the novel’s charms is Mayle’s hilarious send-up of the advertising business his success as a writer had helped him escape.

Such a wonderful escape!